So you’ve decided you want to buy a Rolex, or a Panerai, or an Audemars Piguet and you’ve got loads of cash set aside to spend on the wonderful timepiece you’ve been saving for. Excellent, because the first thing you should look out for is the REALLY cheap price tag – expect to pay anything from £1,500 to many thousands for an authentic watch. The watch being offered to you on a website or elsewhere for £199 IS A FAKE – accept this. There are many Internet sites and auction sites that claim they are selling real new and used Rolex watches or many other brands of luxury watch, but in reality, their products are as real as the tooth fairy. So lesson 1 is definitely about price – if it’s so cheap that it’s a steal, it probably will be!

Try to use a reputable watch dealer when buying a watch. There are countless websites offering special deals and many look rather convincing and professional but bear in mind that nowadays more than ever, you can build, or have built, a professional looking site for a few hundred pounds with credit card processing facility, which can take your money in a matter of minutes. This clearly means that the fraudster can setup a site with ease and have it look like they are well established and genuine.

Don’t be fooled by this and do your research. Ask how long they’ve been around. Check that they’ve got a real live shop that you can visit as this usually means they’ve spent a bit more money on the venture and also have stock you can examine. Also, if you have any issues with your purchase, there is somewhere to go back to if the need arises. These days, this is easily achieved by going to Google maps and typing in their post code and clicking the ‘Street View’ link. You can then see pictures of their shop online.

Below are the key things to watch out for, for each of the most common brands:


o Check the case back of the watch. The authentic new or used Rolex watch will have a small hologram sticker on it. Although replica makers do try to include this, if you move the watch around a little, in the light, you’ll notice that it’s not a hologram at all.
o You may look like a weirdo but have a magnifying glass handy and check immediately below the number 6. You’re looking for an etched Rolex crown. Replica watchmakers do include them but they are usually poor in quality on the fakes. Look carefully as they are very small but also very clear.
o A real Rolex will probably be heavier than a fake as the replica manufacturers simply cannot afford to use the better quality and heavier parts.
o Rolexes do not tick – except the Quartz series. The second hand should glide round in a sweeping motion with no audible sound.
o There’s only one type of Rolex that has a clear case back and that is the recent Prince models. If it’s not one of these models, the chances are it’s a fake.
o Fake Rolexes tend to use glass for the face cover, whereas the real thing uses Crystal. To test this, put a little water on it and examine carefully. The glass on the fake will smear whereas the Crystal on the real version will bead together.


o On an authentic, the case back will 二手 tudor be engraved. On a fake it will likely be stamped.
o On the authentic timepiece, the inner bezel will blend into the dial whereas the fakes tend to have a black ring which is a dead giveaway.
o On a real watch, both the name and the wings in the logo are embossed onto the dial. On a fake they tend to be printed.
o Check to see that the watches finish is brushed.
o The smaller dials are often raised on a fake. On a real Breitling they are not.


o The first thing to look for is the number E0117/1950 on the back. If you find this, it’s a fake.
o A sure test is to look at the watch in the dark. In the dark, the fake watch will not be so bright, especially on the word ‘Luminor’.
o As with Rolexes, the glass face cover should be Crystal but is usually glass on the fakes.
o On the fake, the strap tends to have more stitching than the real thing. The real strap tends to look ‘rougher’, believe it or not.


o The best and simplest giveaway is to remove the case back and take a look at the movement. It should have ‘Cartier’ inscribed on it. This is something that the fakers will not have the budget to do so look out for this.
o As with many brands, the real version will generally be heavier than the fake.
o Real Cartier watches have scratchproof glass. The fakes don’t. Ask the seller if you can test this and you’ll usually find out if it’s a fake from their answer.
o Look for the cabochon stone that should be on the winder. A real Cartier will have one, a fake will not.

So when buy new or used luxury watches, be warned and buy wisely. Never be rushed into a purchase and take your time to use the resources available and do your research. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.